Mahahual, Q.R. — More than 120 dog houses have been donated to local Mayan families to help avoid jaguar attacks on their pets. This spring, reports of roaming jaguars increased, particularly in the Mahahual area.
Last year, there were approximately 20 jaguar dog attack reports, a figure that has already been exceeded this year. Of the 20 attacks last year, only four dogs survived. Since it is a federal offense to kill jaguars, pet owners were in need of another solution.
Volunteers with Asociación Civil Aak Mahahual built the wire-faced shelters that were donated to Mahahual families to protect their dogs. Duve “V”, an area native, said he watched once as a jaguar tried to attack his dogs one night while they were in the shelter.
He said the cat tried to enter through the wire, but was not successful. He said before the cage program, he had gone through 10 dogs that were attacked by jaguars.
Due to the cage program, the number of nighttime cat attacks against dogs has decreased. Duve “V” said if it was not for the program, he would have given up trying to keep dogs.
Asociación Civil Aak Mahahual has donated more than 120 reinforced wire shelters for local area dogs to protect them at night.
According to Víctor Rosales Hernández, a local specialist in wildlife conservation with Aak Mahahual, the main reason for these attacks against pets is because people have invaded the jaguar’s natural habitat.
“We are fragmenting their ecosystem. There is a lot of poaching. The jaguar is competing with humans and there are many problems or factors that are causing these predators to approach urban areas.”
He says during certain months of the year, the jaguars leave the jungle and hunt on the beaches where they eat turtles, however, when turtles are not in season, they look for prey such as dogs.
He says with constant monitoring and the delivery of dog cages, they are hoping the nocturnal hunters move on and start looking for alternative food sources away from the populated areas.
AAK Mahahual works in collaboration with the International Fund for Wildlife (IFAW) to provide inhabitants of the coastal area of Mahahual and Xcalak with night cages for pets to prevent them from being part of the food chain.